Dec. 16, 2010

29th ID hosts National Guard division commanders 

By Maj. Wes Parmer
29th Infantry Division Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. — Leaders of the Army National Guard’s eight divisions gathered at the Army National Guard Readiness Center Dec. 13 and 14 to discuss key topics affecting the future of the Guard’s divisions in overseas and domestic operations. 

 

Maj. Gen. Daniel Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia, speaks to attendees of the Army National Guard division commanders' conference Dec. 13 in Arlington, Va. (Photo by Maj. Wes Parmer, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Hosted by Virginia’s Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division headquarters, the two-day conference brought together the eight division commanders and their staffs as well as the adjutant general of Virginia. 

“My concern is keeping the division relevant, that you are resourced to do the missions and to ensure the governor supports what it is you’re doing,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel Long, Virginia’s adjutant general.

The concept of relevancy was a consistent theme throughout the various sessions that included briefings and dialog on topics such as division force structure, civil support operations and training strategy. 

Particular focus was given to the examination of relationships between higher and lower echelon aligned units that cross state borders.  The “alignment for training” designation between such units grants the higher echelon commander limited responsibility that bridges these state borders when units are in a title 32 status, a key requirement for unity of command during domestic operations.

Col. Fred Bolton, chief of fires for the 29th Division and chief of the National Guard Bureau’s Joint Cyber Office discussed the possible impacts of space and cyber threats and the Guard’s initiatives and active role defending against these events and attacks. 

During the unclassified overview of the Guard’s capabilities to counter the space and cyber threat, Bolton discussed the role of satellite and aerial imagery and the operational impacts of increased solar activity such as global positioning system performance and jammer predictions.  He also addressed the emerging popularity of social networking and the importance of maintaining operational security within our forces.

“Space is an enabler, cyberspace is a new warfighting domain,” said Bolton.

Other speakers during the event included ARNG branch chiefs and staff officers giving updates on their functional areas.  One such brief entailed the Army Force Generation cycle, the rotational basis by which units are trained and sourced for missions.  Another brief examined enduring international exercises the National Guard executes such as Bright Star, a coalition-building and theater-security exercise in Alexandria, Egypt, and Yama Sakura, a simulation-driven bilateral command post exercise held annually in Kumamoto, Japan.

 

Col. Fred Bolton, chief of fires for the 29th ID, discusses Army National Guard space and cyber-space operations at the division commander's conference Dec. 13 in Arlington, Va. (Photo by Maj. Wes Parmer, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

A visit by the ARNG Acting Director, Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, highlighted the priorities of the Guard and current issues, speaking first on the importance of Soldier resiliency and suicide prevention.

“We have got to maintain emphasis on this, Soldiers have a responsibility to who is on their left and their right,” said Carpenter.

During his brief, Carpenter touched on three key components of maintaining future operational force requirements. He noted the importance of assured access regarding the Guard’s authorization for mobilizations, maintaining funding dollars built into the base budgets and the nature of the national will of the United States to support continued involuntary mobilizations during peacetime operations.

Speaking on the issue of high unemployment rates for some of our service members returning from deployments, Carpenter challenged those present to look at initiatives to create employment programs in their specific regions. 

Carpenter closed his discussion with an emphasis on the enduring role the National Guard will hold in overseas contingency operations.

“As the demand continues in Afghanistan and depending on what the residual force becomes in Iraq, we are going to see some steady-state mobilizations,” said Carpenter. “It’s a great story, a great opportunity for our National Guard Divisions.”

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